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News briefs: Knife-wielding man arrested in kidnap try

A man wielding a knife was arrested Thursday after attempting to kidnap a 2-year-old girl at Courthouse Park in Fresno.

Police said the man, Kimberley Gill, 49, tried to take the child from a stroller as the mother was getting a drink from a food cart about 10:10 a.m. The child was strapped in the stroller, foiling the abduction.

The mother told police that Gill yelled racist profanities before pulling out a knife. The mother yelled at the suspect, who tried to leave the scene.

Officers arrested Gill a few yards away.

The child suffered minor injuries. The mother was not injured.

Police said there is no known relationship between Gill and the mother and child, who were not identified.

Among the charges against Gill are battery, violation of civil rights, assault with a deadly weapon, child cruelty and terrorist threats, police said.

Truck owner killed while working on its brake

An Exeter man was killed Thursday when a 1996 Peterbilt truck and trailer he was working on fell on top of him, the California Highway Patrol said.

The man, 49, owned the truck. His name has not been released pending notification of family.

The CHP said the driver of the truck, Simon Richard Thomas, 28, of Exeter stopped the truck along Drive 234 north of Avenue 112 about 11 a.m. because of a problem with the left rear brake on the trailer.

Thomas called the truck owner, who came to the location, crawled under the propped-up trailer and began working on the brake.

When the owner told Thomas to release the brake, the trailer moved and crushed the owner, the CHP said.

16-year-old arrested in stabbing death of boy, 14

Tulare County sheriff's detectives have arrested a 16-year-old Richgrove boy as a suspect in the Tuesday slaying of a teenager found dead in a home invasion robbery.

Deputies identified the slain teen as Ricardo Lopez-Hernandez, 14, of Richgrove. Family members found him at home on the 600 block of Road 210 about 11:20 p.m. Investigators have released results of an autopsy that show Ricardo died of a stab wound to the chest.

He was stabbed when the 16-year-old boy allegedly broke into the apartment where Ricardo lived with his family, investigators said. Four other family members home at the time did not know the apartment had been broken into until Ricardo called for help.

No items were taken from the apartment. The family's apartment was apparently targeted at random, investigators said.

Truck owner killed while working on its brake

An Exeter man was killed Thursday when a 1996 Peterbilt truck and trailer he was working on fell on top of him, the California Highway Patrol said.

The man, 49, owned the truck. His name has not been released pending notification of family.

The CHP said the driver of the truck, Simon Richard Thomas, 28, of Exeter stopped the truck along Drive 234 north of Avenue 112 about 11 a.m. because of a problem with the left rear brake on the trailer.

Thomas called the truck owner, who came to the location, crawled under the propped-up trailer and began working on the brake.

When the owner told Thomas to release the brake, the trailer moved and crushed the owner, the CHP said.

Woman, 28, killed while crossing Highway 152

A 28-year-old Chowchilla woman was killed Thursday morning when she crossed Highway 152 against traffic and was struck by a westbound car.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Emily Tatum was driving a 2000 Toyota Camry southbound on Road 10 when she attempted to cross Highway 152.

James P. Reed Jr., 49, of Clovis was westbound on Highway 152 in a 2008 Dodge Charger traveling at 65 mph when Tatum tried to cross in front of him, pulling out directly in front of Reed's car.

The front of the Dodge collided with the driver's side of the Toyota. The collision resulted in major damage to the left side of the Toyota. Reed suffered only minor injuries.

Tatum had dropped off her 6-year-old child at school and was on her way to work. The accident is under investigation by the CHP.

Woman's body found at burning Visalia building

Visalia police are investigating a homicide discovered Wednesday night at a burning building.

Officers said the body of a woman, 39, who was otherwise not identified, was found outside the abandoned building on the 500 block of East Houston Avenue.

Arrest at motel caps narcotics investigation

Detectives capped a week-long narcotics investigation Wednesday night in Room 711 of a Fresno motel, where they arrested a woman on narcotics and weapons counts.

Sgt. Larry Bowlan said police confiscated 23 grams of crystal methamphetamine, a digital scale and drug paraphernalia plus two shotguns and ammunition in their raid at the motel on the 2300 block of North Parkway Drive.

They arrested Victoria Richardt, 43, of Fresno on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing narcotics for sale.

Three held in attempt to steal palm from yard

Three men who police say roped and tried to haul away a valuable Sago palm tree in northwest Fresno were snared by officers early Thursday.

Sgt. Anthony Dewall said an anonymous tip proved crucial in the arrests. Undercover officers were ready for the three men when the suspects drove a small pickup truck next to a large Sago tree in the front yard of a home near Magill and Dewey avenues before 1 a.m.

Two men got out of the truck to rope off the tree and tie it to the pickup. Officers moved in and arrested Carter Scarabello, 19, and Douglas Morehead and William Hawkesworth, both 18, all of Fresno. They were held on suspicion of grand theft.

The tree, which Dewall said had been planted by the homeowner more than 20 years ago, was not damaged.

3 arrested in burglaries of seven businesses

Clovis police have arrested three Fresno residents in connection with window-smash burglaries of seven Clovis businesses on Shaw Avenue and near Herndon and Fowler avenues.

All three were arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Ricardo Garcia, 31, also was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine.

Police said Vanessa Esquivel, 19, drove the getaway vehicle in most of the cases. Garcia and Esquivel were arrested Monday.

Richard Verdugo, 32, arrested Wednesday, is also suspected of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and was placed on a parole hold.

The trio allegedly targeted professional offices and took flat-screen TVs, computer monitors and laptop computers. Most of the items have been sold, police said.

Investigators found Garcia's Wal-Mart employee badge at one of the burglarized offices.

$50k found in engine area during traffic stop

Fresno County sheriff's deputies seized $50,000 hidden in a shoebox in the engine compartment of a car Tuesday night, but the two occupants of the car were not arrested.

Sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice said deputies stopped the Honda for a traffic violation on Interstate 5 near Dorris Avenue in southwestern Fresno County.

The two occupants, from Southern California, denied that the money was theirs, but said they were paid $300 to pick up the cash in Gilroy. The cash was allegedly proceeds from drug sales, Curtice said.

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